Your workout is not as good as it could be

It’s hard to find reliable fitness information. There’s a lot of stuff. A lot of propaganda. A lot of hype.

Sarah Rippel isn’t hype. She is a fitness expert with a southern kind of swag. I invited Sarah to drop some knowledge about the weaknesses in your fitness routine. These are advanced concepts so she provides full video demonstrations at the end. You will learn.

Who is this article for?

If you are runner, a triathlete, or a crossfitter, you need this.
If you have aches in your body, you need this.
If you want your butt to look better, you need this.
If you’re over 30, you need this.
If you’re under 30, you need this. Your body doesn’t even know what it’s doing yet.

Now, I’ll let Sara take over. Take notes. She is an expert.

sarah

When Angel suggested the topic for my guest post, I was excited. She wanted me to write about the three most neglected muscle groups in women. This was easy for me as I’ve seen these issues in most of my female clients: decreased hip mobility, lack of proper glute functioning, and scapular control. [Angel says: This article is targeted to women but don’t get it twisted, fellas, you know you got these issues, too.]

3 Fitness Issues You Need To Fix Now

The first issue is a lack of hip mobility. A decrease in hip mobility usually comes from spending too much time in the seated position. And it shows up in many ways. People who have low back pain mistakenly believe the cure is to perform stretches for the low back. But low back pain may be the result of decreased hip mobility. The same goes for knee issues. Think of the body as a stack of joints. If an area isn’t functioning properly (ie: tight hips), it affects the joints above and/or below it. A lack of hip mobility can lead to pain and a decreased ability to move, resulting in less enjoyment of exercise and daily life. Who wants that?!

Hip Mobility Routine
1.  Half-Kneeling 3D Psoas Stretch – 5 reps for each plane of motion per side
2.  Modified Cossack Stretch – 5-8 reps per side
3.  Half Turkish Get-Up – 5 reps per side (bodyweight first) then add 8-15 lbs

The second issue is impaired glute function. In most people, the glutes are “shut down,” therefore other muscles take over. This leads to imbalances and faulty recruitment patterns, further exacerbating the problem. Most exercises that women associate with glute training (ie: squats and lunges) aren’t effective if the glutes aren’t firing! It is important to address this because the glutes allow the body to function more efficiently and they add shape. You can tell when someone’s glutes are “asleep” – they typically have a flat butt! [Angel says: A big butt with no firmness or no shape is also a sign of inactive glute muscles.]

Glute Function Routine
1. Bridge – 15 reps
2. Staggered Stance Hip Hinge + Rotation – 10 reps per side
3. Kettlebell Swing – 15lbs or more

The third issue is insufficient scapular control. We’re talking shoulder blades. All of the muscles that work to control the scapulae are often neglected because you can’t see ‘em! It is important to improve the strength and mobility of this area because it plays a big role in posture. As the anterior side of the body tends to be dominant, it makes sense to promote a balanced physique not only to improve posture but to prevent injury as well. Unfortunately, the scapular region is neglected because women are simply unsure of how to train it properly.

Scapular Control Routine
1. Dowel Awareness Drill – 5 reps of 10 second holds (retraction; depression)
2. Scapular Push-Up – 10 reps
3. Quadruped Sliding Reaches – 5-10 reps per side

Try these exercise 2-3 times per week. You should see an improvement in not only these areas, but your entire body! Why? The body doesn’t function as individual muscle groups. It’s a beautifully crafted machine designed to function flawlessly. Therefore we must pay extra attention to our weak areas so that our bodies move better and we feel better!

Hip Mobility

Glute Function

Scapular Control

Sarah Rippel has been helping people improve their health for over 14 years.  She is the owner of Rippel Effect, offering one-on-one, small group training, and outdoor fitness camps in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana area. Check out her website for tons of useful fitness-related posts. Follow her on Twitter @fitprosarah and on facebook.

Do you incorporate these into your routines? Which exercises are new to you?

Share thisShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

Fix the stiffness. For back & hamstrings

If you have a stiff lower back or tight hamstrings, try the Roll Back & Reach.

This exercise is typically used as a warm up activity. But due to its ballistic nature, this exercise should be performed after your warmup. (Your limbs should be loose before you get all up in this one.) Alternatively, it can be used as a “break” during high intensity workouts. For example, 10 burpees, 10 split jumps, 5 roll to reach, repeat.

Focus area: hamstrings, lower back, groin/inner thigh
Improves: flexibility and mobility of the focus areas

Please remember to only do this exercise after you have warmed up. Otherwise, you will injure thine secret parts. And, you don’t want that. You don’t.

Also, if you work with kids or teens, this is a good exercise for them. There’s enough “fun” to distract them from the work. Don’t you dare tell them how effective it is, it’ll ruin the fun.

Share thisShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

the best place for runners in bangkok

outdoorgymbangkokBangkok is crowded. It’s smelly. It’s seedy. It’s my favorite city in Asia.

When I was there, I loved the accessibility, the authenticity, the variety, and the grit. But, the air quality? Not so much. As a runner, I was frustrated. I couldn’t find clean air and I couldn’t find other runners. But I wasn’t going to give up. Every day, I took a 30 minute train to a different park. I needed to find my people. I did.

If you’re a runner looking to escape the smog and see a tree, look no further. I found the best parks in Bangkok for running, exercising, and other healthy activities.

where to run and workout in Bangkok

Lumpini Park. It has everything: running, tai chi, yoga, and dance aerobics. Geezus, the aerobics. There are literally hundreds of people engaged in a mashup of zumba, twerk, and jazzercise. It’s amazing. If you’re a runner, the dance classes are a perfect distraction. You’ll be entertained every lap. Details: The running loop is 2.5km. The park is located near mrt and bts; silom, saladaeng, and lumpini. Pros: big, lots to do. Cons: not centrally located.

Benjasiri Park. This crowd is fit. You’ll see running groups, parkour guys, and a lot of skin. They also have an outdoor gym equipped with machines, barbells, and more skin. For runners, this is a good place for interval repeats, but be prepared to zig-zag between the crowds. Treat it as agility training. Details: The running loop is 0.75km. The park is located a 15 minute walk from sukhumvit mrt. Pros: centrally located. Cons: small; crowded

Chatuchak Park. This is the biggest and most scenic place to run. You don’t have to jostle for space and you’re surrounded by trees. It’s also the best place to have a picnic or rent a bicycle. And, there’s a butterfly garden. You’ll forget you’re in Bangkok. Details: The running loop is 3km. The park is located at morchit bts; chatuchak mrt. Pros: trees; space. Cons: not centrally located.

Gyms. I didn’t visit any gyms because they required lengthy memberships. But I did find Maxfit who offered drop-in classes and a free trial class. **If you know a great gym or fitness camp in Bangkok, let me know. I’d love to visit and write about my experience.

Lessons Learned:
1. Use frustration as motivation.
2. Find your people.
3. Focus on the good.
4. Always focus on the good.

Share thisShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

Fitness. For your brain.

brain fitness angel stoneCurrently, I’m working on mental fitness because I’ve been feeling dumb. Taking extra long to figure out how much change the taxi driver owes me, forgetting the wifi password as soon as I get it, not knowing my real age.

I’ve never done brain puzzles so this will be a single-speed bicycle going uphill. But I’m excited to see how it sparks other areas of my life. Also, I did not plan my outfit to match the book. I swear.

Want to increase your brain power? Is it possible? These resources will get you thinking.

The top apps to train your brain.

Can you make yourself smarter? A controversial NY Times article.

A ted talk on how to learn anything.

Brain games are a waste of time? What do you think?

Share thisShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

no equipment? no problem. let’s work out.

3rdoption+workouts+travelAfter 2 years of backpacking through Asia, I’m an expert on exercising anywhere. I’ve done workouts in hostels, on farms, in stairwells, on balconies, and in bathrooms. Again, an expert.

Will you be traveling soon and staying in a hotel? Is your gym sad? Do you work from home and need to turn your coffee table into a calorie burner? Are you in prison???? No problem.

I’ve compiled a plethora of body weight workouts you can do anywhere. No more excuses. Remember, always start your workout with a juicy warmup, like this or this. Get your fitness on, baby. I’m watching you.

WORKOUTS FOR HOME AND TRAVEL

The ultimate stair workout. Your whole body will wobble.

A 20 minute workout specifically designed for the hotel room.

Not too hard but hard enough. A quick, energizing workout.

If you’re tired of doing pushups, squats, and lunges, this doesn’t include any of them.

3 advanced workouts inspired by capoiera.This is fantastic.

Step up your ab game with 15 core exercises.

The prisoner workout. Amazing exercises for really, really, small spaces.

The quiet workout. So moms can take advantage of nap time.

For my crossfitters. Vacation WODs.

College student? Build muscle from your dorm room.

10 exercises to do on vacation.

A workout for people who don’t eat.

If your knees bother you, this routine won’t.

This HIIT workout takes 12 minutes.

A black belt teaches you balance and flexibility.

For the legs and butt. My favorite parts.

Did you drink the p90x koolaid?

For the booty. You’ll need 5 minutes and a kettlebell.

Want to improve your core? A gymnast tells you how.

Hip openers via this gentle yoga video.

28 exercises you can do on vacation. Some include your suitcase. I love this.

I’ve given you everything you need. Questions? Need me to yell?

Share thisShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

afros for breakfast

Ah. 2011. When my afro was big and my shyness was small. 2016. My afro is mini and I’m awkward in front of the camera. What happened! Anyway, this oldie but goodie is still relevant. I still endorse this high protein breakfast. Just had some today. You?

Share thisShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

confessional: it’s about the croissants

angel+stone+emotionaleatingYou ate two croissants and you didn’t even want them. But you were anxious and nervous and worried. About everything and nothing. And so to stop your mind, you chewed. You chewed, and mindlessly chewed, until there was nothing left. And then you ate another one, because, well, we’re already here.

Now, you feel sick to your stomach. And mad. You’re not mad about the croissants. You’re mad because the croissants didn’t taste good. You’re mad because you ate them anyway. You weren’t even craving croissants. But there they were piled in the baked goods section begging to solve your problems. And you took the bait. Again.

Now, you hate yourself. Because bad croissants make you hate yourself. Good croissants don’t do that.

-notes from my journal

Share thisShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone